In this riveting historical police procedural, Thomas Mullen (The Revisionists) constructs a story of the first black officers on the Atlanta, Ga., police force. Blending careful research with an acute sense of time and place, then adding bold characters, Mullen succeeds in delivering a narrative heartbreakingly irresistible.

Partners Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith are two of the eight black officers. They're walking the Sweet Auburn, aka Darktown, beat when a car hits a lamppost. Forced to follow on foot because they aren't permitted squad cars, the pair manage to stop the white driver and observe a black woman riding with him. Since the black cops are also prohibited from arresting white suspects, Boggs and Smith have to call in white officers. The issue is now out of their hands. But the next time they see the female passenger, she's dead, piled with trash in a vacant lot.

Feeling a sense of responsibility and knowing the white detectives won't make any effort to find her killer, Boggs and Smith unofficially investigate the case, putting themselves in professional and mortal danger.

Mullen's realistic portrayal of racism in Darktown makes it emotionally painful, yet at the same time his astounding delivery is powerfully magnetic. While the hate, injustice and violence drill through the reader's heart, the struggles, determination and internal conflict of his protagonists, as well as the deftly plotted mystery, keep the audience rapt. Steeped in timeless issues and storytelling that may make readers forget they're embroiled in fiction, Darktown is remarkable. --Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts

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